On the heels of the announcement that WWE Network’s exclusive United States streaming rights have been acquired by NBCUniversal, WWE has now announced that they expect to report record financial results for Q4 2020.
2020 was an unprecedented year for the entire world as a global pandemic changed the way that many live their lives and conduct business. Despite this, WWE continually reported record financials and per their latest announcement, they are on track to once again report record financials for the final quarter of 2020.
WWE Announces Expectation for Record 2020 Results and Issues 2021 Guidance
- WWE completes strategic licensing agreement with NBCU’s Peacock service
- The Company expects to report record 2020 Operating Income of $209 million and record 2020 Adjusted OIBDA1 of $286 million
- WWE issues 2021 Adjusted OIBDA Guidance Range of $270 - $305 million2
- Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Earnings Call Date Set for February 4, 2021
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced expectations for its 2020 financial results and outlined guidance for 2021. The announcements were made in conjunction with the communication of a new agreement to license WWE’s premium content to NBCU’s Peacock service, which will become the sole streaming distributor in the U.S. of WWE’s first-run premium content.
Throughout the 2020 year, WWE managed a challenging environment particularly for producers of live content. WWE never went off the air. Because of that, combined with the implementation of extensive short-term cost reductions, COVID-19 had an estimated net neutral impact on WWE’s 2020 Adjusted OIBDA. Accordingly, the Company estimates its full year 2020 Adjusted OIBDA (unaudited) to be approximately $286 million, which would be a record, up nearly 60% from the prior year.3 A reconciliation of estimated 2020 Adjusted OIBDA to Operating Income can be found in the supplemental schedule on page 5 of this release.
Management expects restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19, particularly related to the cancellation, postponement or reduced capacity of ticketed live events, to continue at least through the first half of 2021. Additionally, management anticipates a significant year-over-year increase in WWE’s expense base due to the full return of employees from furlough and continued higher expenses associated with the production of its weekly Raw and SmackDown television content at the WWE ThunderDome from its stadium residence at Tropicana Field. The Company estimates it can achieve 2021 Adjusted OIBDA of $270 - $305 million as revenue growth, driven by the impact of the Peacock transaction, the gradual ramp-up of ticketed live events, including large-scale international events, and the escalation of core content rights fees, is offset by the increase in personnel and production expenses.
Management estimates that the stated 2021 Adjusted OIBDA guidance range would be 15% - 20% higher without the ongoing impact of COVID-19, which includes the loss of ticket and merchandise sales at live events and the increased investment in production to further fan engagement. Estimates of future performance beyond 2021 will be impacted by the return of these businesses and various other factors.
WWE is unable to provide a reconciliation of full year 2021 guidance to GAAP measures as, at this time, WWE cannot accurately determine all of the adjustments that would be required.
- The definition of Adjusted OIBDA can be found in the Non-GAAP Measures section below
- The Company’s business model and expected results will continue to be subject to significant execution and other risks, including risks relating to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on WWE’s business, results of operations and financial condition, entering, maintaining and renewing major distribution agreements, uncertainties associated with international markets and risks inherent in large live events, and other risk factors previously disclosed in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and supplemented in our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on March 17, 2020 and further supplemented in Part II, Item 1A, Risk Factors, in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2020 filed with the SEC on October 29, 2020
- WWE has not completed preparation of its financial statements for the full year 2020. Financial results presented herein for the full year ended December 31, 2020 are preliminary and unaudited and thus inherently uncertain and subject to change. The Company is in the process of completing its year-end close and there can be no assurance that the Company’s final audited results for this period will not differ from the preliminary results presented herein
The Company defines Adjusted OIBDA as operating income excluding depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation expense, certain impairment charges and other non-recurring material items that otherwise would impact the comparability of results between periods. Adjusted OIBDA includes amortization and depreciation expenses directly related to the Company's revenue generating activities, including feature film and television production asset amortization, amortization of costs related to content delivery and technology assets utilized for the WWE Network, as well as amortization of right-of-use assets related to finance leases of equipment used to produce and broadcast our live events. The Company believes the presentation of Adjusted OIBDA is relevant and useful for investors because it allows them to view the Company’s segment performance in the same manner as the primary method used by management to evaluate segment performance and to make decisions regarding the allocation of resources. Additionally, the Company believes that Adjusted OIBDA is a primary measure used by media investors, analysts and peers for comparative purposes.
Adjusted OIBDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and may be different than similarly-titled non-GAAP financial measures used by other companies. WWE views operating income as the most directly comparable GAAP measure. Adjusted OIBDA (and other non-GAAP measures such as Adjusted Operating Income, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted EPS presented to exclude certain material items that impact the comparability between periods) should not be considered in isolation from, or as a substitute for, operating income or other GAAP measures, such as net income or operating cash flow, as an indicator of operating performance or liquidity.
WWE plans to release fourth quarter and full-year 2020 financial and operating results on Thursday, February 4, 2021. The Company will hold a conference call at 5:00 pm ET the same day to discuss these results. All interested parties are welcome to listen to the conference call that will be hosted through the Company’s website at corporate.wwe.com/investors. Participants can access the conference call by dialing 1-855-200-4993 (toll free) or 1-323-794-2092 from outside the U.S. (conference ID for both lines: 3809873). Please reserve a line 5-10 minutes prior to the start time of the conference call.
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The Company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE’s TV-PG, family-friendly programming can be seen in more than 800 million homes worldwide in 28 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The Company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.
Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to wwe.com/worldwide/.
Fightful will have live coverage of the Q4 2020 earnings call on Thursday, February 4, 2021.